Forest, MI Tornado, May 1855
On Tuesday, May 15, 1855, this town was visited by a mighty hurricane, one of those resistless tempests whose power, derived from some---to us---mysterious source, is so painfully manifest. It was late in the afternoon of an almost preternaturally beautiful, clear day that a dark cloud appeared, seeming to form in the clear sky, and the wind blew with an ever-increasing force. Torrents of rain began to fall as the storm gathered strength and fury and began moving eastward at a comparatively slow rate of speed. The diameter of the whirlwind was apparently about 40 rods, but the great force was spent within a space of 20 rods along the line its axis passed over. It course lay along the north line of sections 28, 27, 26, and 25, and then leaving this town it entered Marathon, and passed nearly half-way across the town before its force was spent. During its duration, which was but a few minutes at any given point, the air was filled with boards, rails, limbs of trees, and all kinds of movable things that were situated in its path. Poultry, especially, suffered greatly from its rude transportation. Within the space of 20 rods of the central part of the tornado the trees were mowed down like grass before the scythe of a strong-armed mower, and piled this way and that in the most inextricable confusion. Outside of this, for ten rods on either side, the trees less deeply rooted than their companions were overthrown, but the more sturdy ones withstood the tempest, though many limbs were twisted and torn from them. The Crawford school-house, on the northeast corner of section 26, was completely demolished. The roof and some of the top logs of the house of Daniel Cummings was torn off, much to the amazement of Mr. Cummings, who was within the building, but escaped injury. Some of these logs were thrown to a great distance, one of them being found fully 40 rods south of the house. The roof of Mr. John Crawford's barn was half torn off, and portions of it carried a mile and a half east. When the storm passed over Crawford's Lake the water was caught up by the wind and a waterspout formed by it. From this fact a rumor spread over the surrounding country that the lake had been entirely emptied, and people came the next day from some distance, bringing baskets in which to carry away the fish they expected to find floundering in the mud. They were, however, disappointed, for at the time of their arrival the lake had resumed its normal appearance, and presented no trace of its recent violent agitation.
History of Genesee County, Michigan 1879, page 434